common injuries of basketball
10 seconds left on the clock . . . . .
The excitement reaches you as your championship game nears end. Your team and the opposing team’s scores are tied. You steal the ball from one of the opposing team’s players. You run toward the basket. You shoot the ball to the basket. You see the ball go into the hoop and everybody cheers. You are the star of the game. It’s okay to enjoy playing basketball. Just be careful not to hurt yourself.
Did you know that more than 1.6 million basketball-related injuries are treated each year?
An overuse injury that is common in basketball is patellar tendinitis, or “jumper’s knee” This causes pain in the tendon below the kneecap.
Another common overuse injury in basketball players is Achilles tendinitis. This injury affects the tendon connecting the muscles in the back of the calf to the heel bone. Achilles tendinitis causes pain in the back of the leg just above the heel.
Occasionally, the Achilles tendon can tear. To treat a torn Achilles tendon, your doctor might tell you to keep the area immobilized for some time so the tendon can heal, or you might need surgery to repair the damage.
Some basketball players overuse the tendons in their shoulders. The tendons that attach the rotator cuff muscles to the shoulder bones can become inflamed and painful, particularly when you do repetitive overhead activities, such as shooting the basketball.
One of the common traumatic injuries in basketball are jammed fingers. The severity of a jammed finger can range from a minor injury of the ligaments to a broken finger. Splinting may be needed to allow the injured finger to heal.
A muscle pull or tear is another type of traumatic injury. These injuries occur mostly in the large muscles of the legs. To prevent pulls or tears, stretch your thighs and calves well and do warm up exercises before playing.
The most common basketball injury is the ankle sprain. This injury often happens when a player lands on another player’s foot or when the ankle rolls too far outward. When your ankle is sprained, the ligaments connecting bones and supporting the ankle are stretched and torn. The ligaments can tear partially of completely.
To treat your sprain your doctor will prescribe a short period of immobilization so that the ligaments can heal. After immobilization, you begin special exercises to strengthen the muscles that hold your ankle in place. If your muscles and ligaments aren’t strong enough to avoid being hurt again you may need surgery to repair the damage and help stabilize your ankle.
Knee injuries are some of the most serious basketball injuries. A sprain is one type on knee injury. A knee sprain is a small tear in the ligaments or joint capsule that is not severe enough to cause your knee to give way.
To help the tear heal you must protect your knee for a short time by immobilizing it. After the tear heals, your doctor will prescribe stretching and strengthening exercises.
A torn meniscus is caused if you twist your knee too hard or twist it repetitively. To repair or remove a torn meniscus, you might need arthroscopic surgery. The surgeon inserts a camera and instruments into the knee through small skin incisions. With the instruments the surgeon can see and treat the damaged meniscus.
A complete tear of one or more of the ligaments that support the knee is much more severe. The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is a commonly torn ligament. If the ACL is damaged, your knee will hurt and give way persistently. You need to do special exercises to strengthen your thigh muscles. You must wear a brace on the knee.
Here are some tips to help prevent these injuries:
- always warm up before playing, this will stretch and warm your muscles
- wear proper attire, no jewelry, comfortable, non-skid basketball shoes
- no chewing gum during practice or games
- equipment should not be too close to the wall and padded
- have a first aid kit on hand and be able to use it
- if you wear glasses, use safety glasses or glass guards to protect your eyes
- courts should be free of all debris and holes
- have proper shoes that fit you comfortably
- make sure you have proper instruction and training on new skills